Measures against Kassam rocket attacks

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Question #39

As Kassam rockets continue to pound Sderot, Minister Haim Ramon has suggested responding to the salvos by cutting off vital infrastructure such as water, electricity and gasoline to Gaza for a specific time frame, while the ‘price’ of such measures will be “determined by Hamas and its actions”. What is your opinion of this proposition?

For years the world has become accustomed to Kassam rockets raining down on the citizens of Sderot and its environs. Initially the government understated the Kassam threat, dismissing it as a primitive low grade weapon. “Kassams Shmassams” was how one prominent official referred to them.

Yet the attacks increased, civilians were killed and injured, and Sderot citizens became transformed into refugees in their own country. But Prime Minister Olmert urged them to stand firm and stoically adjust to a daily regime of “Russian roulette” missile strikes.

In fact for a time when the fake cease fire with the PA applied, the Prime Minister even denied the IDF the right to attack terrorists in the process of launching missiles, claiming Israel was strong enough to absorb such attacks and alleging that restraint was earning the nation enormous “global diplomatic benefits”. No other nation would conceivably act with such restraint whilst its civilians were being targeted especially by a neighbor proudly announcing its determination to wipe them out.

On the other hand, had the government faced a similar situation, in a more affluent center like Ramat Aviv, there is no doubt that they would have responded differently. Otherwise there would have been street riots and marches to the Knesset calling on them to resign.

We are also aware that even this dysfunctional government would be obliged to act if God forbid, a school, a hospital, or major infrastructure were struck That this has not yet happened is a miracle.

By denying the IDF the right to fulfill its principal duty – the protection of the life and limb of its civilians – the government is sacrificing lives to score public relations points. It is applying the flawed morality of prioritizing the well being of human shields above those of its own civilians. This is simply untenable.

So when Haim Ramon finally endorses the countless appeals previously made to cut off electricity, fuel, and water in a calibrated manner in response to continued missile attacks from Gaza, one is entitled to say to him “Better later than never. But could you please explain why your government has hitherto continued to provide services to neighbors whose leaders orchestrate missile attacks on us and reiterate their determination to continue killing “the descendants of apes and pigs?”

Our message to Hamas and Gaza should not be motivated by concerns about proportionality or public relations. We must simply protect our civilians. We should say to them; “Stop directing missiles at us or bear the inevitable consequences”. That would neither be brutal nor inconsistent with international law. It would be commonsense.

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